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fhievel - le baptême de la solitude

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Artist: fhievel

Album: le baptême de la solitude

Label: Petite Sono

Review date: Apr. 15, 2006

le baptême de la solitude is an extremely limited-edition CD-R by fhievel, whose real name is Luca Bergero. The young Italian has recorded a number of solo CD-Rs and also recorded with Claudio Rocchetti and Luca Sigurtà on a disc called Pocket Progressive on Creative Sources. Bergero’s music is somewhat similar to that of the wonderful Keith Berry. Berry is extremely obscure, but I’m not aware of anyone better-known who’s making music that’s all that similar to what Bergero is doing, even though it seems like there are a million artists around today whose music is both minimal and slow-moving.

Superficially, le baptême de la solitude sounds like lots of music that avoids being conversational or pushy – think Steve Roden, Morton Feldman, Bernhard Günter, and so on. What sets Bergero’s (and Berry’s) music apart is that, in a certain sense, it goes somewhere. Fast-forward through 10 minutes of Bergero’s music and it will be in a markedly different place than it was. It won’t get there quickly, and it’ll rarely rise above a whisper, but it’s moving. A professor of mine likes to say in a late work of Feldman’s, or in, say, Eliane Radigue’s music, there are few aural cues as to how the form of the music is to be perceived, so it’s up to the listener to shape it herself. That isn’t the case with Bergero.

Bergero is also more concerned with timbre and texture than most of his antecedents. His electronic sounds and burbling field recordings aren’t quite as rich as Berry’s, but they’re close. His electronics seem to tremble and quake even when he’s using drones; the sounds never stay still, and rather seem to move busily, but within a tiny space. Textures come and go slowly, often emerging from silence and fading into oblivion as they end.

If these features – minimal, slow-moving, texturally rich – make it sound as if le baptême is an ambient record, well, that’s not quite right; the record is often barely audible, so that when sounds do emerge they can be distracting. Also, although it's never overtly unsettling, it's not exactly relaxing, either. This really isn’t music one can turn on and forget about. It’s well-suited to late nights and headphones.

By Charlie Wilmoth

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